Illinois Department of Human Services
Division of Community Health and Prevention
Dear Governor and Members of the General Assembly:
It is my pleasure to present the annual report on the Department's WIC and Family Case Management programs. These programs have contributed to a steady reduction in the state's infant mortality rate, which reached 6.6 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2007; the lowest rate in the state's history.
Illinois is unique in its effort to integrate the delivery of these two major programs for low-income women and children. The Department has been able to blend the delivery, financing, monitoring and evaluation of these programs through innovation and performance management. The comprehensive integration of maternal and child health programming is providing the foundation for future expansion and enhancement through the integration of additional service for this vulnerable population.
The Department has achieved uncommon results through this effort. Rates of prenatal weight gain immunizations, breastfeeding, well child care and developmental screening have been steadily improving. Crude rates of premature birth and infant mortality among Medicaid-eligible pregnant women who participate in these programs are substantially better than those observed among similar women who did not participate in either program.
While we continue to make progress, there is a persistent racial disparity in infant mortality that must be eliminated. An African American infant born in Illinois is still more than two and a half times as likely than a Caucasian infant to die before reaching one year of age. Our current efforts are commendable, but they are not enough.
This tragic loss of life must not continue and its disparate impact on Illinois' minority communities must be addressed. I look forward to working with each of you to improve the health of all Illinoisans.
Grace Hong Duffin
The Family Case Management Program and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children
Table of Contents
Service Delivery System
Racial Disparities in Infant Mortality: The Persistent Challenge